Hillsdale Communicator

December 2020


News For Amateur Radio Operators In And Around Hillsdale County



Club Leadership Elections

Club leadership elections for 2021 will be held in January.  The club seeks enthusiastic, qualified amateurs to lead the club.  The club has not had a full slate of board members since 2014.  If you are interested in serving as a member of club leadership, check the club constitution on our website for information about officer duties and election procedures.  We really, really need members to step up and fill these positions.  Qualified amateurs must be willing and able to perform the requirements of the position.  Feel free to contact any of the current club leadership for more information.



Board Meeting

The next Board meeting will be held on Saturday, January 2, at 8:00am via Zoom videoconference.  All club members and invited guests are welcome.  Contact K8HRC@arrl.net for the link.



Membership Dues For 2021

Club membership dues for 2021 are due.  Rates are unchanged from last year and are $10 for regular membership, $5 for household membership (additional members in same household after first member pays regular rate) and free for students.  You must print and fill out a membership application as part of the renewal process.  Dues can be paid by check or money order and mailed to club Vice President Dan Sprow KC8RYF (click for address).  Make checks payable to Hillsdale County Amateur Radio Club or HCARC.  You must renew by March 31 to maintain your membership status.



Membership Report

Club membership stood at 10 as of November 30.  There was no membership activity during the month.



Ham Breakfast

No ham breakfast scheduled at this time due to the coronavirus pandemic.



Christmas Party

There will be no Christmas party this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours.



New Hams

Congratulations to new county ham Jason Kirkingburg KE8PYK of Quincy.  He was granted his General license on November 13.



ARRL Seeks Waiver Of Proposed FCC Amateur Application Fees

ARRL has urged the FCC to waive its proposed $50 amateur radio application fee.  The Commission proposal was made last month in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in MD 20-270.  The proposal already has drawn more than 3,200 individual comments overwhelmingly opposed to the plan.  The fees, directed by Congress and imposed on all FCC-regulated services, are to recover the FCC’s costs of handling and processing applications.  (ARRL story)



ARRL Announces Election Results

The results of four contested elections for Director and Vice Director in three ARRL Divisions were announced on November 20, after ballots were tallied at ARRL Headquarters.  In the Great Lakes Division, incumbent Director Dale Williams WA8EFK retained his seat in a challenge from Michael Kalter W8CI.  In a three-way contest for Great Lakes Division Vice Director, Ohio Section Manager Scott Yonally N8SY outpolled Jim Hessler K8JH and Frank Piper KI8GW.  Incumbent Vice Director Tom Delaney W8WTD did not run for another term.  (ARRL story)



Universal Radio Announces Closing

Ham Radio retailer Universal Radio, headquartered in Worthington, Ohio, closed on November 30, although all existing orders will be filled, and the Universal Radio website will remain open to sell off “remaining stock, publications, and some select products.”  Owners Fred Osterman N8EKU and Barbara Osterman KC8VWI are retiring.  (ARRL story)



ARRL Petitions FCC For Reconsideration Of Order Removing 3.4 GHz

ARRL has petitioned the FCC to reconsider its order removing the secondary amateur allocation at 3.3-3.5 GHz and requiring that amateur operations in the 3.450-3.500 GHz band cease “on a date consistent with the first possible grant of flexible use authorizations to new users.”  “The amateur services in this band long have been operated on a secondary allocation status, functionally similar to the de facto secondary status of Part 5 experimental licenses, whose continued operation was (correctly) approved in the same proceeding,” ARRL told the FCC.  (ARRL story)



ARRL Asks To Allow 3.4-GHz Operation Until Spectrum Occupied

In comments to the FCC, ARRL has argued that radio amateurs be allowed to continue shared operation in the 3.4 GHz band until 5G licensees who purchase the spectrum when the FCC puts it up for auction initiate incompatible operations.  In its Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in WT Docket 19-348, the FCC had proposed to sunset the band for amateur radio in two phases, governed by when new licenses are issued rather than when the new licensees begin to use the spectrum.  “Amateur activities further the public interest and should be permitted to continue on a secondary basis unless and until a new primary licensee is ready to occupy the spectrum in a preclusive manner,” ARRL told the FCC.  (ARRL story)



ARRL Comments On FCC Draft WRC Recommendations

ARRL has submitted comments on two draft recommendations approved in October by the FCC’s World Radiocommunication Conference Advisory Committee (WAC). The comments focus on draft recommendations for World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 (WRC-23) Agenda Item (AI) 1.2. AI 1.2 will consider the identification of frequencies in the 3.3–3.4 GHz and 10.0–10.5 GHz bands, among others, “for International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT), including possible additional allocations to the mobile service on a primary basis,” in accordance with WRC-19 Resolution 245.  (ARRL story)



Massachusetts Voters Pass A Right-To-Repair Measure

A ballot measure passed by 75% of voters in Massachusetts has resolved a thorny question that could have widespread implications for the automotive industry: once a person buys a vehicle, they own all of its data.  The measure amends and broadens a law that gives consumers in Massachusetts the right to repair the vehicles they own.  "This is a major step forward," Kyle Wiens, the founder of California-based iFixit said.  "It's now time to expand 'Right to Repair' from automobiles to cover the rest of the technology, from smartphones to farm equipment," Wiens said, adding that Massachusetts and a number of other U.S. states are poised to consider broad electronics Right to Repair legislation in 2021.  (yahoo! story)



Interference Overwhelms Hurricane Watch Net

As Category 4 Hurricane Iota neared landfall in Central America on November 16, the Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) was forced to suspend operations because of what HWN Manager Bobby Graves KB5HAV, described as “deafening interference from a foreign AM broadcast station that came out of nowhere at 0200 UTC.”  At the time, the net had shifted to its 40-meter frequency of 7.268 kHz, collecting real-time weather and damage reports via amateur radio.  “This was heartbreaking for our team, as the eyewall of Iota was just barely offshore,” Graves said.  (ARRL story)



Damaged Giant Radio Telescope Deemed Beyond Repair

The damaged 305-meter radio telescope at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico will be decommissioned due to safety concerns, the National Science Foundation announced.  The iconic dish has served as a backdrop for several science fiction movies.  The Arecibo Observatory Amateur Radio Club, KP4AO, is headquartered at the research facility, and several radio amateurs are employed there.  (ARRL story)  (NSF announcement)



Paper Predicts Sunspot Cycle 25 Among Strongest Ever

A research paper, "Overlapping Magnetic Activity Cycles and the Sunspot Number: Forecasting Sunspot Cycle 25 Amplitude," by Scott W. McIntosh, Deputy Director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, et al., has concluded that Solar Cycle 25 could be among the strongest sunspot cycles ever observed, and will almost certainly be stronger than the just-ended Solar Cycle 24 (sunspot number of 116).  The scientists say it will also most likely be stronger than Solar Cycle 23 (sunspot number of 180).  (ARRL story)  (Research paper)



Coast Guard Proposes To Discontinue HF Voice Watchkeeping

The US Coast Guard has invited comments by January 21 on a proposal to discontinue HF voice watchkeeping.  The proposal appeared on November 20 in the Federal Register. The USCG proposes to cease monitoring 4125, 6215, 8291, and 12,290 kHz, in the contiguous US and Hawaii, due to a lack of activity.  (ARRL story)



FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Departing Commission

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has announced that he intends to leave the Commission on January 20 as the Biden Administration comes into office.  The FCC chairman is appointed by the president.  (ARRL story)



Radioshack Purchased By Online Retailer

RadioShack is back as an online retailer of electronics, offering some parts in its inventory that largely consists of radios, batteries, telephone gear, drones, computer accessories, and even cameras.  The iconic company was recently purchased from General Wireless by Retail Ecommerce Ventures (REV).  No plans are in place to reopen RadioShack-owned stores, although some 400 brick-and-mortar outlets not affiliated with REV are operated by franchisees.  (ARRL story)



Equipment For Sale

Helen Jordan, wife of Jerry Jordan KA8IEC (SK), is looking to get rid of Jerry's equipment.  If interested in seeing what he has call her at 517-610-5404.



FCC Amateur Radio License Database Activity In Hillsdale County

11/05/20 KD8JON, SOPER, LETTA B, license status set to expired (SK 02/14/16)

11/10/20 AC8WD, Smith, Nicholas J, address updated to out of county

11/13/20 KE8PYK, Kirkingburg, Jason K, new licensee General

11/24/20 KE8PYK, Kirkingburg, Jason K, address updated within county



Snow Totals

November brought the first measurable snow of the season.  Here are the monthly snow totals for Hillsdale City for the past several years


















































































Season Total











Date of First Measurable Snowfall












FCC Enforcement News

FCC takes action against marketing of unauthorized transceivers: The FCC Enforcement Bureau issued a citation and order concerning the illegal marketing of unauthorized radio frequency devices.  The citation says notifies Rugged Race Products, d/b/a Rugged Radios that it unlawfully marketed six models of radio frequency devices that (a) operated outside the scope of their respective equipment authorization, or without any equipment authorization; (b) permitted any operator to program and transmit on new frequencies using the device’s external operation controls; and (c) lacked the appropriate labeling.  (Southgate Amateur Radio News story) (FCC citation)




Monday Night Net Control Stations Needed: We have some Monday night net control slots open.  Serving as net control station builds your skills and earns you extra points towards the net exceptional participation certificate.  If you would like to serve as a net control station once a month please let a member of club leadership know.  Check the schedule for available dates


Monday Night Net: Don’t forget to check in to the net every Monday at 7pm on the 147.06 MHz repeater.  Different flavors of the net take place every week.  The net runs anywhere from five to 30 minutes, depending on the number of check-ins.  Participating regularly in a directed net helps you keep you operating skills sharp.  Set up an alarm in your calendar on your computer or smart phone.  The net schedule and results are posted on the club website.


Distracted Driving Bills Introduced In State Legislature: There are several bills (HB 4181, HB 4198 and HB 4199) that have been formulated in the Michigan House of Representatives that deal with Distracted Driving.  The Michigan ARRL legislative team has been watching as these bills were introduced in the House.  Amateur Radio was granted an exemption (the use of amateur radio while driving) from being considered a distraction. The exemption amendment referenced 47 CFR Part 97, 47 CFR Part 90 and a reference to CB radio.  The bills must be passed by the end of the legislative session on December 31 or they will die.  (ARRL Michigan Section post)


FCC Proposes To Reinstate Amateur Radio Service Fees: Amateur radio licensees would pay a $50 fee for each amateur radio license application if the FCC adopts rules it proposed this week.  Included in the FCC’s fee proposal are applications for new licenses, renewal and upgrades to existing licenses, and vanity call sign requests.  The FCC proposal is contained in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in MD Docket 20-270, which was adopted to implement portions of the “Repack Airwaves Yielding Better Access for Users of Modern Services Act” of 2018, the so-called “Ray Baum’s Act.”  (ARRL story)  (KB6NU’s Ham Radio Blog story & comments)


ARRL National Convention And Orlando Hamcation Postponed To February 2022: ARRL and the Orlando Amateur Radio Club (OARC) have announced that the ARRL National Convention and Orlando HamCation, which was to host the convention, have been postponed until February 2022.  Hamcation is one of the largest annually held gatherings of radio amateurs in the US, attracting 24,200 over 3 days in February 2020.  “The joint decision came after considering the national public health emergency including the health and safety of all participants, the uncertainty that continues to impact our organizations, and the reluctance to travel to, and attend, large events,” said ARRL CEO David Minster NA2AA. “We regret the disruption to the hard work already completed by so many volunteers preparing for the ARRL National Convention and HamCation.”  (ARRL story)



Upcoming Events

Note: Many events are being canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Although every effort is made to make sure this list is correct at the time of publication, readers should verify event status with the organizers.


December 5 – FCARC WinterFest CANCELED

January 2 – Board Meeting

January 30-31 – Winter Field Day



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